Race Recap: Kenny Wallace has had great success at Richmond International Raceway throughout his Busch Series career, having compiled three wins and two front row starts at the .75-mile facility. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team was banking on ...
Race Recap: Kenny Wallace has had great success at Richmond International Raceway throughout his Busch Series career, having compiled three wins and two front row starts at the .75-mile facility. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team was banking on Wallace's experience to help get the No. 23 car a good finish.
During the first practice session, the team struggled to find the right combination for the newly-resurfaced track.
"The track has really changed since the fall race here in Richmond," Wallace said. "There is a lot more grip on this new surface, but we are really having a hard time getting a feel for the racecar. This is the same car that we ran really well with in Bristol, and I know that the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger Chevy has some speed in it. Chris Rice [crew chief] and I need to sit down and figure out where we can get more speed."
Wallace gained some time in his qualifying lap and made a solid 15th-place effort. The team was beginning to understand the quirks of the new surface.
The final hour of practice found Wallace struggling with a loose handling car. Wallace conferred with Rice, and the team overhauled its setup after practice.
"We chased the car all day and felt that the set-up that we came to the track with was not working," Wallace commented. "We decided to go back to what we know works and go from there."
When the green flag finally flew for the Funai 250, there was excitement in the air. Wallace reported on lap five that the car's handling was again loose. By lap 20, Wallace had fallen to the 18th position and said the car was very loose and needed to be tightened up a lot. The caution flag flew for the first time on lap 24, giving the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team ample opportunity to make much-needed changes. The team gave the car four tires, fuel and significant air pressure and track bar adjustments on lap 27. Wallace restarted 28th on lap 31.
Wallace gained a few positions during the next few laps, which were plagued by caution. By lap 43, Wallace reported the crew's changes did not help the car's handling. Seventeen laps later, he was 23rd. He pitted under caution on lap 90 for more tires, fuel and air pressure and track bar adjustments. A quick pit stop by the Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team propelled Wallace to 17th for the lap 95 restart.
Wallace told the crew the changes they made helped the car's handling. He then proceeded to elevate his position, landing in 11th on lap 117. He broke into the top 10 on lap 150 before pitting under caution on lap 174. The Stacker 2/YJ Stinger team made more slight adjustments in order to perfect the car's handling. Wallace restarted 13th.
With 30 laps remaining in the 250-lap event, Wallace was again knocking on the door of the top 10. The 10th caution of the evening flew on lap 234. NASCAR stopped the race while cleanup crews removed the damaged cars from the surface. Wallace told the crew during red flag that he had a good car and felt confident that he would finish in the top 10. Sure enough, Wallace sat 10th on the lap 241 restart. He was battling Kasey Khane for the ninth position when the caution flag flew again for a wreck in turn two. The green flag flew for a three-lap shootout on lap 247, and Wallace resumed his battle with Khane. They fought for position for three laps, with Wallace emerging the victor of the battle. He finished ninth, posting his third top-10 finish in four weeks.
"I am really excited about where our team is going," Wallace said. "We have had some good runs the last couple of weeks, and I know that we are capable of being in the top 10 week in and week out. We just need a little bit of luck on our side."
NEXT EVENT: The No. 23 team will be at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway May 23. The race can be seen live on FX. Check your local listings for times.